Time Change: Don’t Blame a Farmer
That extra hour of sleep you’re losing this weekend, farmers don’t like it either. Have you heard Daylight Savings Time was started by farmers and for farmers?
Growing up on a dairy farm I heard that each year. Since I’ve been old enough to understand what it means, my reply is always, “That means my parents only get 4 or 5 hours of sleep and the cows will be confused.”
You see, cows and their dairy farmers are creatures of habit. Cows need to be milked and fed at the same time every day, no matter how cold or warm, which holiday meal we have to attend, or what the clock says today versus what the cow’s schedule says.
Removing an hour from their day really messes with the schedules of the humans and bovines alike. I love a good schedule and thinking about Daylight Savings Time confuses me.
We have to determine how much earlier to wake in the morning to make sure the cows get their food and are milked on the new schedule.
Some dairy farmers ease their animals into the new schedule by starting a few minutes earlier each milking in the week leading up to Daylight Savings Time. Others, just take the plunge and make the change that day.
On our farm, we’ve done both, and will dive right into Daylight Savings Time this Sunday.
From my research I learned Daylight Savings Time was recommended to the British Parliament in 1907 as a way to use all of the day’s light. Germany was the first country to implement the practice in 1916 and the United States began when we entered World War I, as a way to save energy.
For Christmas, I purchased MSU hockey tickets for my family, instead of giving presents I want to create memories. The game is this Saturday, and, a few days ago, my dad asked, “Do you realize Daylight Savings Time starts Sunday?” I sheepishly lowered my head and said I had not realized that when I purchased the tickets.
He laughed and said, “It’s not like I get much sleep anyway!” He’s a good sport about it but I probably owe him a few large cups of coffee, or should have offered to do chores for him.
No matter what time it is, how dark it is outside, farmers will still rise early and work late to care for their animals.